|Most Home Runs In A World Series|
|1953, 1955, 1977, 2009, 2011||17|
|1956, 1957, 1964, 1968, 1970, 1997, 2016, 2017*||15|
|*All World Series home run totals in chart we compiled in series that went at least five games, compared to through four games in 2017.|
HOUSTON—The discussion over whether the ball is juiced has carried into the World Series.
After a major league-record 6,105 home runs were hit in the regular season, 15 home runs have already been hit in the first four games of the World Series between the Dodgers and Astros. At the current rate, this series will break the record of 21 homers set by the Angels and Giants in 2002 in seven games.
"I think over the years the numbers speak for themselves," Astros righthander Justin Verlander said prior to Game Five. "I know (Commissioner) Manfred said the balls haven’t changed, but I think there’s enough information out there to say that’s not true."
Astros pitching coach Brent Strom told Sports Illustrated after Game Four that the balls being used in the World Series were slicker than what had been used even in prior postseason games. Pitchers from both the Dodgers and Astros, as well as Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, agreed.
Verlander, who gave up two home runs in his Game Two start in Los Angeles, was the latest to concur.
"They’re a little slick," he said. "You just deal with it. But I don’t think it’s the case of one pitcher saying, 'Hey, something is different here.' I think as a whole everybody is saying, whoa, something is a little off here."
This World Series already saw a single-game home run record set with eight longballs in Game Two. Only eight of the previous 112 World Series saw more home runs hit than the current one.
The outburst follows a season where 41 players hit at least 30 home runs. Only 11 players hit that many in 2014, which had the fewest home runs hit total in a full season (4,186) since 1993.
"It does seem like the balls are jumping more," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "And you look at the numbers. The pitchers talk about it feels different in their hand. The one component is the slickness and guys at different ballparks rub it up differently. So I really can’t speak to that.
"It’s hard to argue the numbers. You know there’s more velocity. Guys are swinging harder. I know in Los Angeles the air was light. It was hot. The ball was flying, carrying more than typically. But, I hesitate to try to give you any insight because I really don’t know."
With just three more home runs, the 2017 World Series will move all alone into second place for most home runs hit in a single Fall Classic.